Helpdesk Report: National and Regional Legal Frameworks to control the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Sub Saharan Africa
How are national and regional legal frameworks (including economic and financial system interventions) currently used to control and restrict the illegal wildlife trade (excluding fish or forestry products) in Sub Saharan Africa?
Although Sub Saharan countries may have signed up to Multi-lateral Environment Agreements and regional frameworks and these are theoretically part of the country’s law, their importance is rarely considered at the national level. Therefore, there exists a large disconnect between international, regional and local legal regimes. A consistent theme in the reviews is that significant work needs to be done in each country in order to effectively tackle the illegal wildlife trade (IWT), and weaknesses exist in the principal legislation. These include loopholes, variations on provincial implementation of national laws, inadequate penalties, and in some cases, extremely antiquated legislation or legislation which is contrary to the country’s obligations under CITES. Substantial differences exist across Sub Saharan African countries in terms of the severity of penalties for violating local wildlife law. Countries with particularly stringent fines and/or lengthy jail sentences of four years or more for a wide variety of wildlife offences include South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. Some countries have recently amended or updated their principal legislation.